1. Ole Miss second-year coach Hugh Freeze is challenging the SEC West powers that reside in Tuscaloosa and Baton Rouge. But that’s no guarantee. The question is whether Freeze will realize the Rebels’ potential, as former coach David Cutcliffe did with his 2000 class (Eli Manning) that went 10-3 in 2003, or resemble Ed Orgeron, who in his second year (2006) signed the nation’s No. 14 class (Dexter McCluster). It took the replacement of Orgeron with Houston Nutt in 2008 for Ole Miss to win with the talent Orgeron signed.
2. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, on the ESPNU College Podcast on Wednesday: “Last week, on Sunday I flew to New Jersey and back in one day. On Monday I was in Fayetteville, recruiting kids here, then flew to Phoenix that night. Saw a kid there the next morning. Flew to Miami, saw three kids in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. The next day saw another kid in the Fort Lauderdale area but then flew to Houston. Saw a young man there. Flew to Dallas that night, saw another young man. The next morning, flew to east Texas, then flew into Arkansas, then flew to Chicago that night to see a player. And then that next day, saw four juniors on Friday. Went and saw five juniors in St. Louis on Friday afternoon and came back for an official visit with eight of our kids on the weekend.”
3. Alabama coach Nick Saban and Penn State coach Bill O’Brien share more than a resume that shows they worked for Bill Belichick. They believe in teaching their players to think only of success. It might be a mind game, but Crimson Tide players will tell you they don’t get tired. Likewise, O’Brien’s decision to call his scout team “the dirty squad” and his walk-ons “run-ons” is a refusal to give in to the Nittany Lions’ crippling NCAA penalties. Watching Penn State for the next four years will be fascinating.